The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has said plans are underway to expand the tax base of the country. Speaking during a consultative meeting with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the 2013 budget in Lagos on Monday, Okonjo-Iweala emphasised the urgent need to bring more people into the tax net, stating that such measures might be introduced in the 2013 budget.“For me, expanding the tax base will be a passion because our tax base is too narrow right now. We need to bring in many more people into the tax net,” she said. She pointed out that the biggest challenge in the 2012 budget was the recurrent expenditure, noting that the accumulation of debt at this time was not the best for the economy.
The minister exonerated the Debt Management Office (DMO) over the rising debt. She said the current challenge was not external debt which is just two per cent of GDP.
She maintained that there was the need to slow down the rate of borrowing domestically, stating that the interest rate at which the Federal Government and states were raising debt at the moment was too high.